Research: Majority of football stadiums needs reconstruction

Research: Majority of football stadiums needs reconstruction
# 15 May 2007 12:46 (UTC +04:00)
The statement of President Ilham Aliyev on intention to host 2016 Olympic Games made it necessary for all the sport recourses in the country to meet international standards. Many Olympic Sport Centers have been built since then. Nevertheless, no stadium has been constructed. Only two stadiums admitting 2000-3000 audience were built in Guba and Lenkeran. If Baku bid is approved, a stadium with at least 70,000 audiences should be constructed for the opening ceremony of Olympiad. Azerbaijani government has a plan to construct such a stadium. It has allocated some lands for it. Baku waits for the decision to be passed in September in order to start the building.
The stadiums in cities and regions of Azerbaijan are under repair or reconstruction. Capital repairs started after the elections to Football Federations Association of Azerbaijan (AFFA) 30 December 2003 and Ilham Aliyev’s executive order on State Program for social and economic development of the regions. The stadiums in Yevlakh, Lankaran, Tovuz and Imishli have been repaired. The stadiums in Kurdemir and Lerik will be in use by the end of the year. Salyan stadium and Anatoli Banishevski stadium in Masalli will be fully repaired next year. The repair of Genjlik stadium in Buzovna and other one in Zire will be finished in a few years. The stadiums with 3500 audience in Sheki, Sabirabad and Naftalan will be constructed at the second half of the year. All three will be finished by the beginning of the next year.
There are 100 stadiums in the country including the occupied lands. Big cities have two stadiums and smaller ones have one. There are 10 stadiums in Baku and most of them need reconstruction.
Only Tofig Bahramov stadium built in 1951 is in balance of Youth and Sports Ministry. The ministry has renewed the watchtowers of the stadium with 29,750 audiences. It also changed lawn in 2002 and constructed drainage system. The indicator board will be replaced by the end of the year. Stadium director Akif Ismailov stated that the field has drainage and irrigation systems but no heating which requires €650,000. Besides, it is not much needed as the weather is normal in Baku. The stadium which was approved by UEFA in 1996 is the venue for national championship and international matches. Ismailov noted that the stadium will be closed at 2008 after the European championship qualifying stage.
Shefa is the second stadium that was approved to host international matches. The stadium has been reconstructed on basis of former Termist arena. The stadium in AFFA’s balance has been rented by Inter for 15-year period. The lawn of the stadium admitting 7852 audience is not satisfactory. It will be changed soon. There are synthetic lawn fields in Shefa stadiums as well. FC Olimpik and Inter plays their home matches in the stadium. National teams of underage groups will also play home matches here.
Other large stadium in Baku is Ismet Gayibov stadium in residential area of Bakikhanov. The stadium in balance of SOCAR is covered. There are 5000 plastic seats in three platforms. The construction of fourth platform will start soon and the stadium will admit 10000 people. The lawn will be changed in summer. No club meets opponents in the stadium now. U-21 played European championship qualifying matches against Germany and England in this stadium. Group matches of Regional cup were played here in mid-April.
The stadium has irrigation and drainage systems, track and sport halls where children and the young go in for wrestling, sambo, karate, taekwondo, weightlifting and volleyball.
Tofig Ismailov stadium in Surakhani is also in balance of SOCAR. FC Garabagh which rented the stadium has started repair works. First the lawn will be changed. The seats will be increased in number. The stadium admits 3000 people now.
The situation in Edliyye stadium in balance of Ministry of Justice is not heartwarming. Though the lawn is normal, there are no seats in the stadium with 2000 audience. The fans of first division team Edliyye see the matches on stone.
Central Army Sport Club stadium in balance of Ministry of Defense has the same conditions. Club leadership promises every year to fix the stadium but there is no concrete work yet. There are no seats in the stadium. Besides, the field is rough. The leadership promised to construct the platforms to admit 7000 people.
There is a stadium of State Academy for Physical Training and Sports in Baku. It is convenient for many clubs searching for camp as it is in the center. The students of the academy also use the stadium. The settlement of displaced people prevents the stadium from normal activity. There is only one platform in the stadium admitting 4000 people. The academy takes care of the stadium in time but it is almost crowded. The stadium is still normal thanks to director Sulduz Salmanov. The stadium in Gandja, second biggest city of the country, is the second largest but it hasn’t been used after the ruin of threefold national champion and threefold national cup winner Kepez (called Gandja now). The stadium admitting 25.000 people needs capital repair. The lawn is in a bad condition.
Mehdi Huesynzade stadium in Sumgait is the third largest in the country. It also needs construction. The rough lawn doesn’t let the footballers display technical play. Wooden seats of the stadium haven’t been changed. Besides, checkrooms and other rooms needs repair. Genjlerbirliyi plays host matches in the stadium. The team is not so successful in national championship because of financial problem.
Best football stadium in the country is located in Lankaran. After the construction conducted by Palmali group of companies, sponsor of FC Khazar-Lankaran, the stadium admits 15.000 audience. The stadium has synthetic pitch, drainage and irrigation systems and modern indicator board.
The lawn of Gazakh stadium is not satisfactory either. The platforms haven’t been fully constructed yet. The stadium named after Haydar Aliyev in Imishli was reconstructed with financial support of MKT-Araz and was open on March 23 last year. The stadium admits 7300 people. The stadium will have two more fields with natural lawn by the end of next season. The indicator board will not be established this year. The stadium was approved by UEFA on 26 April 2006. Last season MKT-Araz played against Moldova’s Tiraspol in Intertoto cup.
The stadium repaired by Karvan JSC in Sptember 2004 admits 5000 people. It is planed to increase the number by 10,000 in near future. As the lawn is rough in the main field, Karvan has to play home matches in reserved field. The stadium of twofold national champ Shemkir collapsed in previous season because of financial problem is also out of use. It was first stadium in the country approved by UEFA. It was repaired before the other stadium but now it is left with no care.
The experts consider that the main reason of unsatisfactory conditions of the stadium is their not being owned by clubs. For example, Shovket Ordukhanov stadium in Gusar was not repaired because Shahdag leadership and stadium owner Presidium Confederations failed to reach agreement. According to the 2005-2015 state program approved by the president the stadiums are to be owned by the clubs representing the region. The stadium is already in balance of Shahdag. Club leadership plans to begin capital repair in near future. It is planned to increase stadium’s admittance by 7000. Most stadiums were repaired after they were rented by clubs. First division clubs also attach great importance to the repair of stadiums. ABN-Barda intends to increase the number of seats by 10.000. Local executive bodies prevent the club leadership, mainly business people from construction of new stadiums.
Other problem is connected with the condition of lawn. Sulduz Salmanov stated as an expert that the lawn should be reaped and fertilized in time.
“We don’t approach the problem seriously but the lawn needs care as a child. Seed spread to the lawn of the stadiums of Tofig Bahramov, Shefa, Lankaran, Karvan and some others were brought from different places. But most of seed is artificial. The lawn for football is very expensive. Local climate and soil should be taken into consideration while spreading seed. Besides, one should wait for at least a year and a half for the root to become strong. The grass should be at least 8 centimeters deep. The field is to be watered either early in the morning or after the sun set. The humidity of the field should also be taken into construction while it is watered. The soil of the field should be analyzed in the laboratory first. It should be used only if it meets requirements. The stadium cannot be loaded more than four hours a day. While doing all these actions, one should refer to experts”, he said.
The list of largest stadiums in the country is given below:

Tofig Bahramov stadium – 29750 seats
Gandja city stadium – 25000 seats
Mehdi Huseynzade stadium– 15350 seats
Lankaran city stadium – 15000 seats
Gazakh city stadium – 12000 seats
Shemkir sity stadium – 10000 seats
Shefa stadium – 7852 seats
Imishli stadium named after Heydar Aliyev – 7300 seats
Tovuz city stadium – 6334 seats
Shovket Ordukhanov stadium – 6000 seats
Yevlakh city stadium – 5000 seats